Overview

Our bodies have a phenomenal disease-fighting system called an immune system. However some people have weakened immune systems that cannot protect the body. These are called immunocompromised hosts.

Causes of Immunodeficieny or Immunosupression

Your immune system could be compromised by any of the following:

  • Disease
  • Drugs
  • Malnutrition
  • Radiotherapy

Disease

Diseases that can affect the immune system can be classified in two different ways: congenital, which affect a fetus and newborn infant, and contracted or acquired.

Congenital conditions can include:

  • B-cell defects,
  • T-cell defects,
  • macrophage,
  • cytokine, and
  • other deficiencies.

Contracted or acquired conditions can include:

  • malnutrition,
  • HIV/AIDS,
  • traumatic accidents, or
  • other medical conditions.

Drugs

Sometimes drugs used to treat different diseases can suppress the immune system making the immune system less able to handle infection. These drugs can include those used in:

  • chemotherapy,
  • bone marrow transplantation, and
  • organ transplantation, such as kidney or liver transplantation.

Malnutrition

Our immune systems can be hugely affected by malnutrition. Malnutrition happens when a person does not receive enough food, unhealthy food, or food with specific nutrients. Without the right nutrients, our immune systems cannot defeat diseases caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites, and other microorganisms.

Radiotherapy

Radiotherapy is a cancer treatment that can temporarily affect bone marrow. Since bone marrow produces white blood cells, which include the immune system cells that defend the body against infectious disease, the body’s immune system is less able to protect itself from diseases.

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